Warm Prune Salad For Healthy Bones
This Warm Prune Salad Recipe & Nutrition Blog Post is sponsored by California Prunes. As always, all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands who help make Walder Wellness possible!
In honour of Osteoporosis Month (this November), I’ve teamed up with my friends at California Prunes to discuss the relationship between nutrition and bone health, while also sharing some bone-supportive recipe ideas. Osteoporosis refers to a condition in which our body loses too much bone or makes too little bone. While we naturally lose bone density as we age, nutrition can play a huge role in delaying or lessening that bone loss!
Certain foods contain high amounts of essential nutrients related to bone health, and California Prunes are one of them! As a dietitian, I am excited to hopefully inspire you to include more of them in your diet – starting with the No-Bake California Prune Power Balls & Warm Prune Salad I’ll be sharing here today.
I quickly wanted to mention that bone health isn’t just something to focus on as we get older; the bone mass that we build EARLY in life is a huge determinant of the health of our bones as we age. Did you know that we reach peak bone mass at the age of 30? Taking care of our bones is important, no matter what age we might be!
Why Is Nutrition Important For Bone Health?
The bones in our body are types of tissues, just like any other organ system. As we grow taller, so do our bones, with most growth completed between ages 16-20. However, once we are fully grown, our bones do not suddenly become stagnant organs. Rather, they constantly undergo a process called “bone remodelling,” in which the bone is continuously broken down to release necessary minerals into the body (a process called “resorption“) and then rebuilt (a process called “reformation“). In order to rebuild that bone tissue, our bodies need certain key nutrients from our food.
The key nutrients involved in the development and maintenance of our bones include certain vitamins (like vitamin K and vitamin D), minerals (like calcium, potassium, phosphate, copper, boron, and manganese), as well as protein.
Each of these nutrients plays a unique role. For instance, protein (e.g. collagen) provides a structural function to our bones, while also maintaining the production of hormones that modulate bone synthesis. Calcium and phosphorus are 2 of the main bone-forming minerals, with 99% of our body’s calcium residing in the skeleton! Vitamin D helps our bodies better absorb calcium and vitamin K works alongside calcium to build strong bones. Potassium works to protect the calcium in our bones from the effects of acids and the other trace minerals act as cofactors in other processes maintaining bone health. (III)
In addition to key nutrients, inadequate energy intake (eating too few calories) can also negatively impact our bone health (being underweight is actually a risk factor for osteoporosis).
As you can see, proper nutrition is essential for normal bone structure and function, and may even help to minimize or slow the loss of bone density that occurs after age 40.
Prunes & Bone Health
Those key nutrients I mentioned? California Prunes are actually an excellent source of some of them, particularly vitamin K and potassium. A serving of 5 prunes contains 290 mg of potassium (6% of our daily needs) and 25 mcg of vitamin K (20% of our daily needs). Prunes also contain other minerals like copper, boron, manganese, and magnesium, all of which play a role in bone health!
Research has looked into the effects of prune intake in post-menopausal women, who are more likely to lose bone density as a result of the loss of protective effects of estrogen. These studies have found that eating 5-6 prunes daily can help women maintain their bone density and slow additional loss (I, II).
Why California Prunes?
California Prunes are grown in nutrient-rich soils and very sunny conditions, which gives them an incredibly distinct flavour. They are fresh, sweet, and rich, and I mean it when I say I couldn’t stop eating the box of California Prunes I was sent to create these recipes!!
California Prunes are great to eat as-is, or as a part of a healthy snack or meal. They are great in both sweet and savoury recipes, and can be used in both cooking and baking.
If you’re in need of some recipe inspiration to include more of them in your diet, check out the two recipe ideas below!
No-Bake California Prune Power Ball
First up: a delicious no-bake snack idea. These No-Bake California Prune Power Balls are a super easy, healthy, on-the-go snack that most definitely did not last very long in my fridge (my boyfriend devoured them!) You can check out the full recipe HERE.
Warm Prune Salad
To incorporate prunes into a meal, why not try this warm prune salad made with roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes, quinoa, arugula, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and – of course – California Prunes! It’s seasonal, comforting, nutritious, and a great accompaniment to any meal. The full recipe can be found below.
More Fall Salad Recipe Ideas:
- Winter Pasta Salad With Roasted Vegetables
- Massaged Kale Salad With Sweet Potato, Pomegranate & Goat Cheese
- Pesto Quinoa Bowl With Broccoli & Sweet Potato
- Massaged Kale Salad With Maple Tahini Dressing
Get the Recipe: Warm Prune Salad With Sweet Potatoes
- 2 small-medium sweet potatoes
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup dry quinoa (or 1 cup cooked)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 3 large handfuls baby arugula
- Approx. 50 grams crumbled goat cheese (approx. 2 ounces)
- 12 California Prunes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 a lemon, juice only
- 1/4 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel + cube sweet potato into 1-inch pieces. Place on baking sheet + toss with olive oil + cinnamon, using a large spoon or your hands. Once sweet potatoes are evenly coated, spread them out on the baking sheet + place in the oven for 30 minutes (or until tender + slightly brown).
- Meanwhile, cook quinoa on the stove top according to package directions.
- While ingredients cook, make salad dressing by combining all dressing ingredients into a small jar + shaking vigorously. Slice the California Prunes in half + set aside.
- Spread walnuts onto a small baking sheet + add to the oven when there are 6 minutes left on the timer. Remove from oven, along with sweet potatoes. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- On a serving platter, add baby arugula, cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, sliced prunes, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with salad dressing, and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings as desired. Enjoy!
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.